Despite his team having racked up a score of well over 300, captain Jason Holder felt that West Indies were well short of what would have been a par score on a belter of a pitch in Taunton, following his team’s seven-wicket defeat to Bangladesh on Monday, June 17.
West Indies put up 321-8 after being asked to bat first – not a bad effort by any means – but as Bangladesh would show later, it was far from sufficient as they ran down the total in 41.3 overs, with seven wickets in hand.
“I felt that at the halfway stage, we were still a few short,” Holder said. “Probably, I reckon, a par score on this wicket, with the dimensions of the ground, probably 360-365, maybe 370. And we were well short of that. If you look at the context of the game, and the way Bangladesh scored in comparison to what we did, I think we probably were 40-50 short.”
Though they recovered through the middle phases, it wasn’t smooth sailing at the start of the innings for West Indies. In the first Powerplay, West Indies limped to 32-1. It was also a passage during which Chris Gayle was dismissed for a 13-ball duck.
A stunning chase from Bangladesh who beat West Indies by seven wickets!
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 17, 2019
The recovery began with Evin Lewis and Shai Hope stitching together a 116-run stand, but a lot of that was undone when Bangladesh clawed back with wickets later in the innings. Overall, West Indies’ strike-rotation wasn’t at its most efficient, with Hope alone eating up around 50 dots during his 121-ball innings.
“We knew up front, in the first ten overs, we had to really knuckle down and get through that period,” Holder said. “That probably was the toughest period of the innings. But I think we should have been able to rotate the strike a little better and find the boundary a little bit with a little more freedom.”
“It was good that he [Hope] went deep, but probably we could have asked him to show a little bit more intent. Having said that, we still were losing wickets at crucial stages. We needed one of the top four players to go through. He got down to the end, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough today.”
With 321 runs on the board, though, the bowlers still had plenty to play with. West Indies went in with an all-pace attack, but were hit by their lack of incision. Barring one, none of the four partnerships Bangladesh strung together was under 50.
“The quick bowlers could have done their job,” Holder said. “If you look at their spinners, they didn’t cause much of a threat. Shakib is the only one, I think, who got wickets. Mehidy struggled. We pretty much scored off him freely. So, no regrets there.
“With 321 on the board, we still go out there, fight and make a game of it. We needed new-ball wickets. We didn’t get it today. They batted well. Shakib and Liton Das played really well, got to give them credit. I think the balance was not an issue today. Execution, for me, was the issue, and it hurt us in the end.”
As for Bangladesh, they maintained their stellar recent record against West Indies with their fifth consecutive win against them. Their seamless chase was also the joint second-highest in World Cup history, as they equalled their own record, against Scotland in the 2015 edition.
At 133-3, it still was anybody’s game, but Shakib Al Hasan extended his dream World Cup run with a second century, in addition to two fifties, in four matches. His unbroken 189-run fourth-wicket stand with Liton Das completely shut the doors on West Indies.
Liton, in fact, outscored Shakib towards the latter stages of the chase. In the last 39 balls of run-chase, Bangladesh pillaged seven fours and three sixes, which amounts to a boundary every four balls, and all of them, barring three fours, flowed off the bat of Liton.
“The way Shakib batted, some of his boundaries helped me to release the pressure,” Liton said. “I never felt this way. I scored a lot of runs in the domestic league, but never finished any game. It was a big achievement for me as I finished today’s match, and that too in a big event like the World Cup.”
For Liton, Monday’s knock was a challenge in more ways than one. Not only was he playing his first ODI in over a month, he was also returning to the side in an unfamiliar role. An opening batsman, Liton was pushed down to No. 5, but he took the challenge head-on to deck up Taunton’s County Ground with eight fours and four sixes.
“At first, I was very nervous, because I was out of game-time for long,” Liton said. “Playing in a match is different, fielding and supporting your team is another thing. I was behind in that regard. Playing today was important because I think when you play a match, your nervousness goes away and these things will help me a lot in the coming days.”